Gallery Weekend Berlin 2022
This year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin, from April 29 to May 1, featured a new mix of emerging and established artists, bringing together around 50 galleries in a common organisation, as usual. Between openings and reviews, the best compliment is that the event continues to promote a platform for dialogue and diversity.
Once again, between accidents and plans, we could see a bit of everything. For example, small galleries further away from the itineraries or non-gallerist venues opening exhibitions during the weekend, taking advantage of the event’s audience, even if not promoted by the organisation. Or galleries such as Carlier Gebauer, which have recovered works presented recently on this occasion.
The format, which promotes participants through a map, is one of the factors that most stimulates coincidences. From the cartographic point of view, which fosters visits through an itinerary, it is difficult not to visit venues that, even if they are not open in the event or on the map, end up being associated because we pass by there or randomly enter. In many cases, they seem to establish dialogues or connections.
One way or another, Gallery Weekend manages to create a kind of rehearsed coincidence, a series of common affinities and concerns, but also a heterogeneous landscape with places that open only during the week. It is rehearsed because, even without a common theme, the event unites all the venues that, for some of the reasons mentioned above, end up being associated. It is heterogeneous because it brings together intersecting positions that fit different realities and approaches to the artistic context and, in particular, to the art market.
It is difficult to define what the combination of these two elements corresponds to, bearing in mind the event’s scale and genesis – without a common theme despite being conjoined. The truth is that, perhaps because individual experiences are put on a roadmap, Gallery Weekend brings many of the venues together under an idea of event and concern.
For example, at Klemm’s there was a discussion of metapointillism in relation to the several photographs presented by Adrian Sauer, worked pixel by pixel to exhaustion through digital drawing, as well as the panel composed of the 256 possible shades between black and white. The discussion was not unheard of for Grey Crawford, remembered in a solo exhibition at the Persons Project, a few kilometres to the west, where the emphasis was on the way in which space is removed from the initial referent in the manipulation of the photograph through composition and over-composition, in a denaturalisation process.
We can also speak of the affinities between Colleen Harden, Filip Kostic, Yein Lee, Andrew Rutherdale and Jonas Schoeneberg. At the Scherben Gallery, they explored the synthetic as opposed to the organic realm through various dysfunctional and redundant automatic devices. And also, of the affinities this might have with at dawn, a group exhibition at the Julia Stoschek Collection, which also opened within this context. A proposal for counter-poetry was outlined, an aggregating place for multiple spiritual, psychological and physical enclaves, using the utopian horizon of art to establish a connection between the notions of celebration, strength, singularity and knowing.
The common concern is perhaps more visible if we think of the occasion from a heterogeneous point of view. In this sense, it is important not to forget that the context of Gallery Weekend is predominantly gallerist. As such, it has a partly commercial purpose, including projects of different magnitudes. Therefore, there is different scope for making programmatic and curatorial decisions.
Unlike the stand format of conventional art fairs, Gallery Weekend advocates the idea of opening the doors of galleries and the city, encompassing spaces and agents that are not part of the market. In other words, it’s an event that not only makes commercial work visible, but also makes it dialogue with several opposing initiatives.
After all, what is the conclusion of this amalgam of different proposals, of discourses with several objectives and intentions? We can think of cases of artists who appear in more than one space, such as Joan Jonas. Part also of at dawn, and entitled to a solo exhibition at Heidi, in Schöneberg, is an illustrative case of this heterogeneity. If, in the group exhibition, Jonas’ work is an integrated element in a quasi-manifest position, in the Heidi Gallery the intention to revisit takes on greater relevance. The focus is on the artist and the balance of her work summarised in an installation.
Between the two venues and the two exhibitions, there seems to be a world of distance. A world that can be discussed on the same occasion. The map is made of this blurring. Deep down, we ask: visibility amounts to what, after all?